Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ariola Records: Real People

I got Mac McAnally’s first LP by chance, as a radio station for which I was employed was throwing out some albums and I grabbed this one and a few others. I love nearly every cut on this LP and remember playing it over and over when I got it. This album was released on Ariola America in 1977. Although “It’s A Crazy World” was the single and typically the cut I would have featured, it is unfortunately not currently available on YouTube.

What is on YouTube, however, is a excellent example of McAnally’s songwriting prowess and my personal favorite cut on the album. “Real People” is not a “feel good” song. In a nutshell, it is quite depressing. It deals with a child named John with a brain tumor and his eventual death – but more importantly, it deals with our insensitivity to the tragedies of life.

His schoolmates should have been sad at his death – but in their superficial lives, they only cared about things that didn’t matter. Children can be so cruel – but so are adults. It is a lesson for us that we need to care about others and not just ourselves.

When I got this LP, I played it for my girlfriend at the time and she broke out in tears – that was the reaction John’s friends should have had instead of being self absorbed. We all need to cry when a catastrophe occurs. Yes, it’s depressing, but there is a lesson for each of us in this song. “Real people would understand, and real people would lend a helping hand, but real people are hard to find.”

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